1

Does Your Energy & Passion Help You Stand Out?

I love this video.  I frequently joke that this goat, Buttermilk, is like my daughter.  She is full of energy, spunk and easily differentiates herself from the rest of the “herd.” Isn’t this EXACTLY how we want to be in our businesses, and in our lives? We want to be the one that has more passion, more energy and more spirit than our competitors; we want to stand out from the crowd so people are attracted to who we are and/or what we are selling.

What 3 things can you do TODAY to help increase your energy, productivity and passion that will help you to be the EXCEPTION, not the rule?

CALL TO ACTION: Create 3 daily routines around your answer to the above question and timeblock doing them every day.

5 Hacks for Eliminating Stress & Boosting Effectiveness

Did you know that most Americans are living with stress levels significantly higher than what psychologists believe to be healthy? One out of 4 people say that they are not doing enough to manage their stress. Are you one of those people? This, according to the American Psychological Association, is one of the biggest threats to our health, success and well-being.

How does stress affect you? Most people get crippled by it. Symptoms of overwhelm include disorganization, lack of clarity, frusstresstration, anger, ineffectiveness and a lack of satisfaction in your job and your life.  Why tolerate this when the answer to relieving your stress and boosting your productivity are so simple?.  Here are 5 super-easy hacks that will make an immediate difference in the quality of your day:

1.  JUST ONE CALENDAR: Simplify your life by using only one calendar. There is NO reason to use different calendars for work, home, etc. The more tools you use, the messier you get. Google Calendar is my app of choice, it allows me to view my family member’s calendars and plan with the big picture in mind.  It seamlessly translates to PC, Apple and is usable on any device. It lives in the cloud, so I’m safe from data loss.

2.  TIME BLOCK: To do lists are for losers! Lists are only good for making you feel ineffective. Instead, assign every task a time in your calendar, just like you would an appointment. If it’s not important enough to rate a slot, stick it in a list you call your Parking Lot for later assimilation. For more information on timeblocking, click here.

3. GUARD YOUR TIME: Stop saying yes to stuff that sucks the life out of you, you don’t enjoy or that is not crucial to your goals and/or happiness. This is not only applicable to activities, but to people too. You know that old saying about “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future?” This is truer than we all probably want to admit. It’s time to cut the anchors free. Regarding time, Americans are now busier than we’ve ever been before and it is ridiculous. Busy DOES NOT equal important, it just equals stupid. Time and energy are your two most valuable resources and if you are wasting either, you are shooting yourself in the foot every day.

4. SET CLEAR PRIORITIES: This goes hand-in-hand with #3. “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” This quote is all about priorities. If you don’t know what is important to you, you become a victim of everyone else’s priorities. Establish your “Top 10” and say no to anything that robs from that list. If it’s not on the list, the answer is ALWAYS “no thank you.”

5. REBOOT: If YOU aren’t in the top 3 of your priority list, you’ve got it wrong. Human beings need to be rebooted from time to time, just like computers. If you never refill your “energy tank,” you will run on empty until you burn out… and burn out is ugly. I suggest that you timeblock reboot time/activities daily, or AT LEAST weekly. What activities give you energy? What hobbies fill you with energy and revitalize you? If you are not sure, look to the things you do where you get lost in time… you look up and 5 hours just passed… most of the time, these are things you LOVE.

Stress is NOT a requirement for success. In fact, the most successful people I know and coach have very little consistent stress in their lives. They know how to eliminate activities and people that suck the life out of them and they are committed to behaviors that get them closer to their goals and increase their happiness and satisfaction in life.

CALL TO ACTION: Complete your Top 10 Priority list right now. Then, choose one of these productivity hacks and commit to turn it into habit over the next 30 days.

YOU Are Your Own Worst Enemy

I talk to potential clients all day long that really have NO idea how powerful they are.  Some are wildly successful in many areas in life, but in one area, they are just stuck and can’t move forward.  Others are wildly unsuccessful and get stopped everywhere; they have multiple failures and can’t figure out why their great ideas don’t turn out… the problem, no matter the client, is almost ALWAYS the same: they have NO IDEA who they ARE, or how powerful they are.

I used to have these 2 dogs; a Lhasa Apso and a Bull Mastiff.  The Lhasa was 25 lbs., the Mastiff about 125.  The Mastiff was HUGE.  His head was Maxthe size of watermelon and when he was running toward a stranger, barking–their life would flash before their eyes.  He was massive.  The other dog, however, was one of those white, yappy lap dogs that you want to kick like a football to get him to shut up.  He was almost all white with long hair covering his eyes and was always mistaken as a girl: “Aw… what’s her name?  She’s sooooo cuuuuute!  What a little princess.”  Strangers LOVED this dog.  However, strangers were erroneous.  The dog to fear was the white one.  The Lhasa was cunning and evil.  He would bite you in the face before you knew what hit you.  He hated almost everyone and was incredibly aggressive.  The Mastiff, on the other, was afraid of his own shadow.  The funniest daily event in our house occurred when Max (the Mastiff) would tear around the main floor, tongue flapping behind him running for his life… you guessed it, being chased by the Lhasa, nipping just feet from his heels.  Max ran like his life was at stake.  He was terrified.  And, you know why? Elliot (the Lhasa) knew how powerful he was.  He had what dog traineElliotrs often refer to as “Little Dog Syndrome;” that condition where 25 lb. dogs think they are the alpha and they can rule the world.  The funny thing about that is they most often do.

As humans, we need more “Little Dog Syndrome” and less self-doubt disguised as humility.  It’s not attractive to think less of yourself than you are. It’s not humble to cheat yourself out of your potential.  In fact, it’s down-right stupid.  I have the privilege to talk to some of the most amazing people on this planet on a daily basis, and, you know, most of them have NO idea who is walking right there in front of me, inside their skin.  They think they are weak, afraid, and unable to accomplish their dreams.  The really sad thing is… they are right.  As long as they think they are powerless, they are. Most times, I meet people that do have at least some idea of their power; however, they are just as stuck because they won’t allow themselves to be great.  They know they’re “big dogs,” but they afraid to let themselves be big in the world.  They hide behind humility, fear of success and a concern for what others will think of them if they are crazy-successful.  They make a mistake by assuming that being a “good person” means one can’t have money or lofty success; that you can’t REALLY be altruistic if you are rich.

I believe that each of us has an Elliot inside–hopefully not so aggressive and nasty (LOL)–but, really, a powerhouse of possibility and strength ready to jump at any, and every, opportunity.  The problem is we tend to slink into a corner like Max… by the way, did I mention he was literally one of the DUMBEST dogs I’ve ever had.  He had a good heart, though.

What Do You Value?

I often talk about how important it is to prioritize your daily tasks based on your values… but what are values?  I’m not talking about morals or ethics.  Values are literally the things that you VALUE most in your life.  Most of us are unclear about what is most important, and therefore, we lack the ability to PRIORITIZE based on our values.  This gives us crazy days where we are putting out fires and living in survival, rather than being proactive and moving forward the things that wvaluee value as most important.

Therefore, to help you take control of your days, you have to clearly define your values.  Here is an exercise that will help you do exactly that:

ASK YOURSELF: What do I value most?
Select 10 items from the following list that are most important to you.  Feel free to add any of your own that aren’t listed.

Achievement Friendship Integrity
Advancement Growth Pleasure
Adventure Family Power
Affection Contributing to Others Fame
Art Politics Service
Being Challenged Honesty Faith
Variety Independence Influence
Intimacy Privacy Quality relationships
Community Peace Recognition
Competence Being know Freedom
Competition Intellectual status Reputation
Cooperation Involvement Responsibility and accountability
Country Job tranquility Security
Health Knowledge Self-Respect
Decisiveness Leadership Serenity
Democracy Location Sophistication
Ecological awareness Loyalty Stability
Security Education Status
Effectiveness Meaningful work Management
Efficiency Merit Time
Ethical practice Money Truth
Excellence Nature Wealth
Excitement Teamwork Wisdom
Fame Order Work under pressure
Fast living Personal development Excitement
Fun Rewards Creativity

 

ASK YOURSELF: What Can I Eliminate?

Now that you have identified ten, imagine that you are only permitted to have five values.  Which five would you give up?  Cross them off.

Now imagine that you are only permitted four. Which would you give up? Cross it off.

Now cross off another, to bring our list down to three.

These are your top 3 values.  Everything in your life should be designed to move these forward.  When you master your ability to do this, you will be amazed at how fulfilling, organized and joyful your life is!

CALL TO ACTION:  Examine your daily structure and align your schedule to reflect your 3 most important values, discovered above.

2

Get Your A$$ In the Game!

failureI love to talk about failure.  I love to talk about all of its gifts; about how failure really is the source of growth in life.  But there is something that comes before that… it’s called participation.  In order to fail, you actually have to be PARTICIPATING in your life.  You need to be out on the skinny branches, asking for what you want, making it happen and sometimes looking like an idiot.

“Duh,” you say?  Look at your life.  Are you really a player–ON THE FIELD?  Have you really pushed, balls to the wall, to make your dreams and desires happen.  I doubt it.  Not everywhere.  If we all were really playing full out, we would all have everything we really want in life. Unfortunately, human beings seem designed to be spectators.

spec·ta·tor
/spekˌtātər/
noun
1. a person who watches at a show, game, or other event.
synonyms: watcher, viewer, observer, onlooker, looker-on, bystander, witness

This is why the internet is so fun.  We can travel all around the world, exploring all of “life” while sitting at home in our underwear.  We can stand for equality and demand the end of hunger or the fair treatment of orcas at Sea World… all without really DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT.  This is not being on the playing field.  This is typing 140 characters that make you feel better about yourself but accomplish very little in the real world–ON THE FIELD.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love (really, LOVE) social media, and there is real power in using it to create and cause conversations that can change the world.  But it’s just a start.  Eventually, you have to put on pants, leave your home and actually DO SOMETHING.

 

Watch this (then hit the back arrow to rejoin me):

We are spectators because we are afraid.  We all have areas in our lives where fear controls us.  We don’t want to fail so it becomes easier to judge the people who are really out DOING life: living their dreams, making stuff happen.  It becomes easier for us to just stay safe and remain in the stands.  The problem here is that all of us have at least one area where we are doing this, but few of us are willing to admit it.  We may be producing great results at work, but failing in our relationship.  We may have a terrific family, but have no integrity on the job.  Success and balance come when we are truly living for our dreams and doing the hard, scary work that makes them real in the world.

Whether  you are committed to inventing something that revolutionizes the quality of life on the planet or you simply want to find your soul mate, you can’t get results until you get in the game!  Wake up!  Turn off the computer, put your phone down and get away from your tv… life is happening all around and if you don’t have the things you really want, you are probably still in the stands.

CALL TO ACTION:  Evaluate your life.  Take a good, hard look.  Where are you being a spectator in your life?  Commit to taking 3 actions in the next 24 hours to get you what you want!  Put your pants on and go outside.

What are You Creating in Your Life? It’s NOT What You Think!

I’m a social media whore.  Ok, let’s be kind… I’m a floozy.  I love it.  I value the ability to connect with so many people I would never, otherwise, connect with.  I learn from social media.  I laugh from social media.  I get much of my news–family and world–from social media.  I carry FB with me every moment and report on my life at a ridiculously frequent level; whether or not anyone even cares.  I LOVE social media.  It enriches me.

But then, I watched this video (ironically from a friend’s FB post) and started to question the role it plays in my life.  I love asking questions.  Challenging myself to examine my life and always up the level of intentionality with which I’m living…

Watch this and then join me in this conversation:

It is an interesting inquiry.  Are WE innovating loneliness in our lives by creating intimacy-lacking relationships online?  What does this mean for our future?  What about our kid’s ability to become truly intimate?  Will we be challenged to commit to true intimacy because of the way social media breeds self-centeredness, immediate gratification and self marketing?

Makes me want to go “Hmmmmm?”  Now discuss…

 

Can I Just Hit Snooze on My Life?

As a life coach, I spend my days working to inspire, motivate and encourage people to be more positive and productive in their lives.  My work is all about helping people like YOU make their dreams a reality in their day-to-day lives.  So, given all that positivity, I obviously wake up in the morning full of sunshine, roses and possibility, ready to take on the world… NOT!  I am just like most of the other 7.046 billion people in the world: my alarm goes off, I groan and roll over and feel like screaming “Nooooooo, God, whyyyyyyyyy?” at the top of my lungs.  And some times that is exactly what I do.  But what separates me, and more importantly, anyone else who is committed to living an amazing life, is that MOST of the time, we hear that glaring conversation of resistance in our heads, roll over and get out of bed to create a different conversation in the world.  We choose, every day (mostly), to live consistent to what we’re committed to, NOT the automatic conversations in our heads.

This is the first thing I see in the morning.

This is the first thing I see in the morning.

It is not that resistance is ABSENT, it is that it is made INCONSEQUENTIAL in our lives by our choice to ignore it and choose a different conversation.  We all have automatic conversations that limit us.  The most powerful people, however, have learned to master the ability to choose (and create) what conversation(s) uses them.  Will it be 16 snoozes and being an hour late to work that starts your day?  Or, instead, will you get up, cause excitement and create something extraordinary?  I choose the latter.  But it IS NOT EASY.  Choosing beyond your automatic conversations takes intentionality.  You must distinguish your limiting self-talk.  You must be awake to who you are committed to being, what you are committed to and how you are going to make it happen.  Generating an amazing life means you have to design your life and how you live it on a daily basis.  For instance, the automatic conversation I wake up into most mornings is “I don’t want to!”  I don’t want to wake up, I don’t want to get dressed, I don’t want to get my kids off to school and I don’t want to see clients… if I was going to Disney World, I wouldn’t want to do that, either… you get the point.  I just don’t want to.  I know that this attitude is not going to get me where I want to go in life.  So, instead, I choose a different conversation.  I choose that who I am is that all people are heroes committed to creating an amazing life and an incredible world–and my job is to help them do that.  I cannot do that with my head under the covers.  Therefore, I put something on my nightstand to remind me who I REALLY am, so that when I wake up into “I don’t want to,” I am reminded to choose something different.  My reminder is a plaque given to me by a friend that says “Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, ‘Oh crap, she’s up!'”  Now THAT inspires me.  So I get up, put my feet on the floor and start creating magic.

Success is never an accident.  If you are committed to being extraordinary, you have to create effective systems that call you into extraordinary choices and action.  So this week, don’t let your automatic conversations rule your day.  Take back your life.  Give up the snooze button and decide who you are going to be and what you are going to create.  Today is YOUR day; OWN it.

CALL TO ACTION:  Who are you committed to being in the world?  Distinguish that and create a “reminder” for yourself on your nightstand or bathroom mirror.  Read it every day and allow it to change you.

 

 

The 3 Crucial Components to Achieving Any Goal

As people head into the new year, typically they are focused on setting goals for themselves.  Over 50% of Americans make a New Year’s resolution of some sort; that’s over 156 MILLION people trying to do better.  Some set work goals and some set personal goals.  In a recent study by the University of Scranton in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, the top 10 goals made this year were:

1. Lose WeightLadder up
2. Get Organized
3. Spend less, Save More
4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5. Staying Fit and Healthy
6. Learn Something Exciting
7. Quit Smoking
8. Help Others in Their Dreams
9. Fall in Love
10. Spend More Time With Family

Americans are goal-oriented people; we like to set them but when it comes to putting “the rubber to the road” and striving to create a REAL change, we often give up.  Out of those 156+ million people trying to improve, only 8% will succeed–8%?!.  What the heck?  Only 8% will succeed.  This statistic shows that we have real hope and desire to change, but OBVIOUSLY do not have the skills, determination and the accountability to produce the results.

What are your goals for 2014?  Mine include losing weight, having more joy and peace in my family and building a business with a bigger online presence.  In order for me (and YOU!) to make our goals transform into an actual result, we must have 3 crucial components:

1.  the skill set to accomplish the goal.  Ask yourself – Do you know how to accomplish it and do have the tools/resources you need?

2.  determination and discipline to follow through – What is your structure/system to accomplish your goals?  

3.  accountability to kick us in the butt, when #1 and #2 wane – How will you be held accountable when you fail, and what will push you to move passed quitting?

I challenge you to re-examine your annual goals.  Build in these three crucial components and be intentional about setting yourself up to win.  If we all took on building a solid plan around our goals, we’d actually be driven to succeed rather than set up to fail.

Success is not about accomplishing the goal the first time you attempt it.  It is about NOT quitting until you succeed.  If all of us structured our goals with the three crucial components in mind, that national percentage of 8% would be more like 80-90%.

CALL TO ACTION:  Re-examine your goals and build in structure that answers the three questions in the crucial components above.

You Were MADE For This

The holidays are an exciting time for most of us.  With the sparkling glow of lights on the tree and neatly wrapped packages full of surprises, we anticipate Christmas with a child’s hope and look forward to unwrapping a shiny new year.  It is also a time when we may begin to reflect on things that haven’t gone exactly perfect during the year; laundry-listing our weight gain, illnesses, car accidents, missed opportunities and failed goals.  Our hearts ache as we count the empty chairs and miss dearly those we have lost – those that will not be here to celebrate the season with us this year.  While the world is filled with overflowing joy, our attention sometimes turns to the sharp darkness in the corners of our lives, and in our world.  It is critical during these doubting periods that we turn our eyes to the sun, remember who we are and push HARDER to make a difference in the world.

I have been going through a rough patch lately in my life with challenges to my health, in my family and in walking alongside others who are struggling with deep issues, both personal and in their businesses.  It is easy to get discouraged and simply want to give up.  Instead, I work hard to remind myself that it is during these struggles that who we are in the world is deeply tested and loudly demonstrated: will we push for possibility or set a chair for despair at our dinner tables?  It is our strength and hope in the difficult moments that begins to change our lives, and the world around us.  

“One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes, We Were Made for These Times

 

knightYour passion is your lantern.  Your vision, your why… they are your shield.  Your mission is your sword and it is each of our jobs to take up the “good fight” and cause change in our corners of the world; to bring light to the darkness.  You were MADE for this.  A hurdle is simply a hurdle and a mountain was set there to climb.

When we can face our challenges and push despair and failure aside, we demonstrate hope for others.  We show the world who we are in the matter of our lives.  We clear a path for those that will follow.  We create real possibility in all that is around us.  We begin to lead.

2

Failure is Your BEST Teacher; Embrace Him

hugYour relationship to failure is what dictates your long-term success.  If you avoid failure, fear it and try never to make a mistake, you can never grow and develop in ways necessary to accomplish your biggest dreams.  If you view failure as part of your life’s journey–as a teacher, if you will–you can reap all of the great benefits failure has in its pocket for you.

In a course I’m currently leading based on a John  Maxwell book, he says that we must “change failure from a detour to a dividend.”  In order to do this, or fail forward, you must attack your dreams with passion and action and be awake to the times you fail.

Failure is filled with lessons.  If you can appreciate the value of failure, you can allow it to strengthen you.  There is no successful person in life who has not failed over and over again.  It’s important that you don’t take failure personally.  Your failures are designed to be red flags to direct you to the places you are weakest.  They teach you where you need to improve and grow; they even redirect your path if you are getting off purpose.

Failure is not a four letter word.  Successful people don’t fear it or try to avoid it at all costs.  Successful people keep a sense of humor about themselves and their failures.  They take full responsibility for what happened and examine how to change the results next time they try… and, they never stop trying.

I once read a quote that failure doesn’t exist… there is just quitting.  The only time you fail is when you stop.  Where are you stopped today?  How can you pick yourself up by the bootstraps and start again?

CALL TO ACTION:  What is your current relationship to failure?  What can you do today to begin to experience life as a journey and failure as your best teacher?  Is there an area where you are stopped that you can take a failure, examine it and learn from it, and then, TODAY, begin again?

I’d love to hear your “wins!”  Please come back and share what happened!